masthead logo
email webmanager facebook | twitter | instagram | google+ | flickr | contacts | 


Rosslynd PIGGOTT, High bed REDUCE 2/3

  1. 24355.jpg 1/3
  2. 24355_a.jpg 2/3
  3. 24355_b.jpg 3/3

Rosslynd PIGGOTT

Frankston, Victoria, Australia born 1958

  • Movements: Italy 1988

High bed 1998 wood, metal, cotton, dacron, satin, perspex, painted walls wood, metal, cotton, dacron, satin, perspex, painted walls
dimensions variable 370.0 h x 200.0 w x 230.0 d cm
Purchased 2000
Accession No: NGA 2000.231.A-I

  • Through the 1990s to the present, Rosslynd Piggott has worked in a diverse range of media, including installation. Her work is in part inspired by the Symbolists and Surrealists―particularly the Surrealist poets. Her connection with the surreal dimension, and her interest in the unconscious mind, is integrated with her own distinctive vision; informed by personal experience and her capacity for introspection and flights of imagination.

    High bed 1998 is a striking example of Piggott’s poetic sensibility. The work has literal, metaphorical and contradictory dimensions. A bed is often considered a place of rest and comfort―as suggested in the soft downy fabric draped over it. On the other hand, the vertiginous nature of the high bed also induces a degree of uncertainty and anxiety. As the artist recalls, the initial inspiration for the work occured during a residency in Paris at the Cité des Internationale des Arts:

    ‘When I lay in that bed during the night, my thoughts and impressions of the Parisian day would collect in my head in an intense over-abundance. Somehow, on occasion, that overabundance would transfer itself to the furniture―the bed would swell, the building would weigh itself against my chest. The relationship between mind and object was transferred, fluid and shifting.’[1]

    Dramatic dislocations in scale are expressed in the contrast between the bed and the tiny shoes and small white house. The large mirror floating above the bed is partly a distancing device. It enables us to look back in on the work. It also creates an intangible dimension, adding to the sense of a dream which permeates the whole.

    Dr Deborah Hart
    Senior Curator
    Australian Painting and Sculpture post-1920
    National Gallery of Australia

     

    [1]Rosslynd Piggott, ‘Rosslynd Piggott: High bed’ in Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002, p 407


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: National Gallery of Australia exhibition SoftSculpture (reference )

  • In 1994–5, I spent seven months in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts – living and working in the heart of Paris, in the beautiful Marais quartier. My studio overlooked the Seine and the Ile Saint Louis opposite.

    I spent three months making drawings and destroying them. The information I collected was dense, yet confusing. One distinct thing I noticed was the bed I slept in. All the artists at the Cité are given single beds to sleep in and the studios themselves are very austere. It was a weird contrast: living in one of the most culturally and visually rich cities on earth, in domestic surroundings of institutionalised and drab austerity. When I lay in that bed during the night, my thoughts and impressions of the Parisian day would collect in my head in an intense over-abundance. Somehow, on occasion that over-abundance would transfer itself to the furniture – the bed would swell, the building would weigh itself against my chest. The relationship between mind and object was transferred, fluid and shifting.

    I tried to describe these sensations in a series of watercolours, High bed 1994. And several years later, in 1998, this became a large object, High bed. It changed a little and became its own form, but these were my initial experiences that formed the basis for the work.

    I wanted to make a bed that wasn’t really a bed – you couldn’t sleep in this bed. It is also like a big minimalist white cube, with just enough information to think that it might be a bed. The weight of culture is recorded in that bed. This bed also registers anxiety and dislocation, its state of mind. The mercurial mirror disc registers a space above the bed so that the viewer can look upon the scene with distance.

    Rosslynd Piggott, 2002


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002